Some companies just nail the trademark choice.
They hit that sweet spot between coming right out and saying what they are (think Pizza Hut®) and having a trademark that tells you nothing at all (think Starbucks®).
In the trademark world, that sweet spot is called a “suggestive” trademark.
Suggestive trademarks are unlike any other kind of trademark. They “require imagination, thought, or perception . . ..” unlike a descriptive trademark “which immediately tells something about the goods or services.”*
Here are some of my favorite suggestive trademarks:
- Insomnia Cookies®
Each one gives you just a faint idea of what it is and what it stands for. Each pops up in the corner of the customer’s eye and reels her in. Great suggestive marks contain some or all of these elements:
- Incongruity – The trademark contrasts with the product or service in some way.
- Humor – The trademark makes you laugh because of the incongruity or surprising connotation.
- Stickiness – The incongruity, humor, or another element of the trademark makes the trademark easy to remember and distinguishes it from the trademarks of competitors.
- Relatability – The trademark reaches your memories or feelings in a direct way.
- Imagination or mental pause – There may be a moment between hearing or seeing the trademark and fully grasping all of the connotations and hidden meanings.
It’s crazy hard to think up a suggestive trademark, but it’s worth its weight in gold.
*Trademark Manual of Examination Procedure Section 1209.01(a)